The Inspiring Leader of tomorrow
Antiquated methods of top-down management are existing on borrowed time. The new inspiring leader liberates their team to make decisions independently, with well-calculated risks. Mistakes will happen, but a light hand at the helm gives the team a chance to both own their missteps and learn to problem-solve. Each participant’s creativity (often their most valuable quality to a progressive organization) has room to bloom.
What makes a good inspiring leader? How about ten years from now? Some say the leader should set rigid boundaries for their reports. Others say that stifling team members’ best qualities is preposterous; they allow their people do what they do best for the firm. Still others maintain that only visionaries make good leaders. Perfectionists believe they should know the business down to the smallest details in order to inspire others.
Individual personalities take to management styles differently. Attempting to force everyone into a preconceived mold dooms both the organization and its employees to mediocrity. As you become familiar with your team members, you’ll notice subtle differences in the way you interact with them. For example, while most will be comfortable submitting weekly status reports, others may appreciate the confidence gained by submitting twice-weekly updates. A simple adjustment like this can yield outsize results.
Hierarchical management has outlived its usefulness
Jan Carlzon’s Tear Down the Pyramids (1985) began the movement away from management by top-down hierarchy. In the old system, all important decisions were made at the top, and then the strategy was cascaded down through the organizational layers. Employee motivation consisted solely of pay raises and promotions. This hierarchical system still lingers in some parts of the world, but even in such deeply embedded traditions, the system is failing.
The growing complexity of decision-making and collaboration call for a management system based on self-managing teams. Here, decisions are made at the group level rather than by one (perhaps inaccessible or ill-informed) manager, removing a common bottleneck in strategic execution. Individual team members are given responsibility based on competency rather than job title, often with the manager or stakeholder as adviser. Empowered team members bring the kind of energy to their tasks that can be found no other way.
Here is the strategic hierarchy that makes most sense for today's inspiring leader:
Agility in a crisis
As Professor Roger Martin explained at a recent conference in Copenhagen: "Future managers and boards must act as service providers to the rest of the organization, helping them execute strategy and plans." Enabled teams adapt more quickly to changes in a volatile business environment. This agility not only evades avoidable obstacles; it also helps stabilize the organization after unavoidable ones.
Trust and empowerment bring discipline and accountability
Some teams set their own hours or decide where to work remotely. How does management avoid anarchy? By giving the team (and its individual members) responsibility just one notch above their present, proven capabilities.
Set them up for success with a dependable communication system. Networked with a Strategy Execution Management platform, coordinating efforts becomes easier and more efficient than walking down the hall to a (closed) office door.
Use psychology to get the best from your team
Empowering your team isn’t only about streamlining day-to-day tasks. They need your vision to see beyond the workday. Ideally you’ve built a team around your organization’s values and ethics, so the greater vision will be in line with each player’s idea of excellence. The clearer the vision, the more involved each becomes in reaching it.
Does this sound like business psychology? It is indeed! And it’s opened doors to creativity at every level of work there is in this world.
The very best business psychology creates an atmosphere of support, allowing everyone to contribute their unique talents to their common goal. There is no manipulation; that went out with top-down managing.
Get prepared to become an inspiring leader
A decade ago, business inspiring leaders had to adjust to digitization of everyday routines. Many saw little point in it; the business world has long since seen little point in them as well. One of the true benefits of progress is what we’ve learned much about human behavior.
Leading from behind also sets an example for the best and brightest of your team, to prepare them for even better things to come. Digitalize your strategy, and see how your inspiring leader can benefit from today’s technology.